Tuesday, December 31, 2013


From Roger Kimball

Their latest exercise in mendacity is “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi,” an elaborate essay that substitutes a plethora of irrelevant details and animated graphics for historical truth. The long essay takes up an event which, in a rational world, would have led the to resignation of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the impeachment of President Barack Obama. I mean the terrorist attack on our consular facility at Benghazi, Libya.


A Utah judge has ruled that certain laws against polygamy or unconstitutional.

This is an interesting decision, especially in light of how polygamy affects the status of women both inside and outside of Utah—in, say, Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Or Canada. Or anywhere. It’s as though Judge Clark Waddoups, who in his Utah decision claimed there was no “rational basis” under law for distinguishing between a man shacking up with a few women and informal but established polygamy, had ruled in a total vacuum.

But worse than a single US judge’s decision has been the reaction from so-called respectable media outlets who believe, despite all worldwide evidence to the contrary, that the ruling struck a blow for unvarnished personal freedom.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The 80th anniversary of Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine passed in November and I did not see any press coverage of it.  It was a horrible act of genocide.  And even more  horrible is that the New Times reporter lied about it because of his leftist political bias when he wrote news stories on the situation in the 1930s.

Joseph Stalin’s decision in 1928 to seize privately held agricultural land and transform it into collective farms caused massive hardship for all Soviet peasants. When authorities expropriated peasant grain stocks and farm animals, hunger broke out in much of the USSR. In Ukraine, where close to a million peasants actively rebelled against collectivization, such expropriations were especially severe, leading to widespread starvation that the state both refused to alleviate and purposely aggravated until millions had died and a massive crackdown on Ukrainian political, cultural, and religious elites had been completed. At the height of the Holodomor, 25,000 Ukrainians starved per day; cannibalism was rampant.


This debate reminds me of the arguments that took place in Russia when communism collapsed.  Should statutes and pictures of Lenin, etc. be preserved?  Now the US War College wants to remove portraits of confederate generals from its walls.  "Historical cleansing" can lead to ignorance of the past which creates it own set of problems.


Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, compared the NSA to the old East German communist secret police, the Stasi, in a meeting with President Obama.  Anyone who knows anything about the operations of the Stasi realizes the anger involved in her accusations.

Monday, December 16, 2013


A criticism from Foreign Policy concerning the failure of US military strategy.  The US is still trying to use the strategy which failed in Iraq.

What we should not do is delude ourselves. Strike-based theories are attractive because they offer deceptively easy solutions. They assume away intractable problems and focus on challenges for which we can engineer clean solutions. They make us feel good. They prey on our desire for the cheap miracle cure. Unfortunately, they are really only good for starting wars, not winning or deterring them. If the bankrupt Shock and Awe theory is dressed up as strategy again, someone will call our bluff. Having assumed away hard choices, U.S. leaders will find themselves stuck with two bad choices: accept an intolerable situation or engage in a struggle for which we are unprepared. That is exactly what happened in Iraq. And if we continue to adhere to the same fallacies, we can be sure it will happen again. There are no easy wars. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013


From Powerline.  A list of corporations that financially support the Center for American Progress.  It is a myth that big business is behind conservatives and the Republican Party.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


From Mickey Kaus. It sounds so much like Mussolini: Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.

The Obama administration works closely with a few major corporations to the exclusion of other corporations.

The Obama Administration continues to blaze new paths to corporatism (the cozy alliance of government with a few big businesses in each industry to the exclusion of smaller players). Last month, it was the Obamacare two-step, in which government so screws up a new policy that it has to throw itself on the mercy of the industry it is trying to control–in this case the insurance industry, called in to save the exchanges.  Obama owes them now–both for technical help with the website and for not jumping ship as expected customers fail to materialize and HHS shifts deadlines and makes other crude fixes on the fly.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Government is out-of-control or at least the Department of Agriculture is.  From Open Books.  But Chicago is not the only urban area receiving subsidies.

Monday, December 09, 2013


Seymour Hersh writing in the London Review of Books questions whether the Obama administration gave the whole story when it was accusing Assad of having and using sarin.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


The 2012 OECD student assessment results. Considering all of the money the US spends on education, public education is failing miserably.  In some cases Third World countries are doing as well as the United States is.  Slovakia spends almost 3 times less than the United States on each student and does as well on the assessments.

From The Atlantic.  Nevertheless, this year’s report—and the United States’ poor math results—may be worth paying attention to for at least one reason. A2011 study found that PISA scores are an economic indicator: rising scores are a good sign that a country’s economy will grow as well.


LZ Granderson on CNN:
“All Americans know politicians lie. The question is which lies can you live with? And, time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart he has the best interest for the American people. Every president is going to lie to you. Every politician is going to lie to you. The question is which lies can you live with?”
I don't think this helps Obama's case.  Hear and see it on YouTube.


From Time.  I don't quite understand the title, "It's Social Ties, Not Religion--That Makes the Faithful Give to Charity," because the article goes on to point out that religious people are more likely to donate to charity than non-religious people. But it does try to show that the more religious social connections you have in a religious organization, the more likely you are to give.

Not only do Americans give generously to charities with religious affiliations, but the most religious Americans are also the most charitable. In our book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, Robert Putnam and I show that there is a strong connection between being religious and being charitable. Not surprisingly, the most highly religious Americans contribute their time and treasure to religious causes. But they also give to secular causes—at a higher rate than do the most secular Americans.

The goal is to get secular organizations to somehow bond like religious organizations so that their giving for charitable causes goes up!  Crazy.


When should a president fire aides?  The National Journal raises the issue of whether Obama has been hurt by incompetents around him.  To save himself, maybe a shake-up is needed.

A series of self-inflicted wounds during his fifth year in office, capped by the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act, have Americans questioning the president's competence and credibility. History suggests that second-term presidents rarely recover after their approval ratings fall as much as Obama's have this year.

History also suggests that there are two types of White House shake-ups. The first is mostly cosmetic and is aimed at sending a signal that the president is serious. He fires somebody, anybody, as a sacrificial lamb. The second is deep cleansing--that rare occasion when a president rebuilds his team to change himself.


From CNBC. There is a good interactive map.

The U.S. turned in a mediocre performance, according to the study. The world's largest economy scored 73 in this year's index—identical to last year—which puts it in a tie with Uruguay for 19th place. Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Japan are among countries considered cleaner than the United States.


Boeing has successfully tested an EMP weapon which knocks out electronic transmissions. Warfare will change drastically.

A recent weapons flight test in the Utah desert may change future warfare after the missile successfully defeated electronic targets with little to no collateral damage.

Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) during a flight over the Utah Test and Training Range.

Update:  A collection of videos showing the impact of an attack.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Reviews of Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution by James P. Byrd.

Christianity Today

He matter-of-factly contends that sermons were more influential than political pamphlets in building popular support for independence, and he insists unequivocally that "preachers were the staunchest defenders of the cause of America." And yet the question that really interests him is not whether religion played an important role in the American founding but how it did so. More specifically, he wants to understand how colonists used the Bible in responding to the American Revolution.

Religion in American History

But the Revolutionary War also altered how Americans read and understood the Bible, challenging and changing interpretations of both the Old and New Testaments. Byrd mines his dataset of wartime sermons during the long eighteenth-century to great effect, demonstrating the interpretive challenges colonists faced in rebelling against the British Empire. Whereas the Bible had previously been marshaled to justify war against Catholic imperial rivals France and Spain and non-Christian American Indians (as recently as the French and Indian War of the 1750s and 60s), the predominantly Protestant colonists of North America were now facing off against the British Crown they’d previously held up as the standard and protector of the English-speaking Protestant Empire.

The Christian Century

Byrd also seems not to have noticed that the most bellicose sermons he quotes came from Presbyterian ministers—not Congregationalists or Methodists or even Baptists. Did most such sermons indeed come from Presbyterians, and if so, why? (His database appears to have contained only biblical references, not the denominational provenance of the preachers or even their geographical location.) Is the apparent Presbyterian predominance because of their regional concentration in the middle colonies, or is it because of Scottish and Presbyterian antipathy toward the British dating back for generations?


A provocative analysis of the need to study warfare.  Today "peace studies" dominate, but is there more to learn about human nature and how to avoid war from studying warfare itself.

The lesson we should learn from this sorry history is that preemptive war is a necessity when facing a determined aggressor, and that the time and place of a potential conflict, and the capacity to wage war until its successful conclusion, must be carefully considered and prepared for when making treaty commitments and pledging the nation’s blood and treasure. This means that often a nation cannot merely wait to react to aggression, but must anticipate where the blow will fall.

. . .success in war depends on morale, not material superiority. Long before 1938, England and France had lost their nerve, and simply did not have the will to fight. Instead they had bought into the illusions of internationalism and collective security, pacifism and disarmament, which had merely fed the alligator of Nazism, to paraphrase Churchill, in the vain hope that they would be eaten last. And this brings us to the philosophical lessons the study of war teaches. Contrary to our modern therapeutic utopianism, the history of war shows us the unchanging, tragic reality of human nature and its irrational passions and interests that will spark state aggression and violence.


The Obama White House is controlling the kinds of pictures that can be taken and seen and some pictures have been digitally altered.  As Dana Milbank points out Stalin was famous for this kind of thing--when you saw a picture it was not necessarily a historically accurate account of who was there or not there.  In addition the press is being excluded from many White House events. . .but I don't hear complaints from the mainstream media.

Monday, November 25, 2013


The media has a lot to say about conservative fat cats giving money to conservative causes, but they seem to ignore how liberal fat cats also try to influence politics by supporting Democrats.


From CNBC.  Tax returns at the IRS are not safe and can reveal private information to hackers.  But it also raises questions about security at state sites and notes that South Carolina's Department of Revenue also revealed private information on taxpayers.  And now it will be responsible for Obamacare financial data that is supposed to be private.

A new report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that although the IRS claimed it had implemented 19 fixes to secure the system recommended by the auditor in previous years, at least eight (or 42 percent) of them "had not been fully implemented," and should not have been checked off as completed.

he auditors said the IRS never tracked its progress on the repairs, and in many cases, it closed cases without submitting documentation to prove the fix was complete. The auditors blamed it on "weakened management controls."

And a hacker says no security features were built into the Obamacare web site.  So there are no security features to fix!  And the government is not required to tell you there was a security breach so a person would not know they had a potential identity theft problem to watch for!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


"Saudi Prince Alwaleed says Obama lacks a comprehensive and coherent foreign policy."  I wonder if he is been to a Tea Party meeting?


It is beginning to look like the Democrats "stole" the election from Mitt Romney and resembles a Chicago election with the Republican having no way to win because of the corruption and manipulation.  Or is it a "culture of cover-ups?"

1.  From CNBC.  Jack Welch said the September 2012 unemployment numbers look "fishy and perhaps had been manipulated".  Now we find out that An employee in the Census Bureau, under pressure to make the required amount of interviews to formulate the monthly nonfarm payrolls report, allegedly fabricated interviews that consequently made the unemployment rate slide from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, according to the New York Post.

2.  IRS admits to targeting conservative groups in 2012 election

3.  Benghazi cover-up.  Even MSNBC admits something smells.

4.  Healthcare.  "If you like your healthcare, you can keep it -- period."  And then there are all of these "friends" of the administration who are given contracts to develop or manage various parts of Obamacare.

5.  Operation "Fast and Furious."

And let me know if I have missed something.

Monday, November 18, 2013


From liberal Democrat Senator Gillibrand (NY).  If all Democrats involved in Obamacare knew it was a lie from the beginning, it does not speak highly of their ethical values. . .or their respect for the American people.  And  you never build a program on a lie if you have a Judeo-Christian value system.  It reminds me of Hitler's use of lies: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) admitted Sunday to knowing the promises President Obama made about his signature health care plan were false. On ABC’s This Week, fill-in host Martha Raddatz asked Gillibrand where she felt misled by Obama, considering the fact that the President said that Americans who wanted to keep their health care plans could do so.

Hitler also said:  "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think."


Even the liberal Keynes would have been against quantitative easing.  Conservatives don't like quantitative easing and if Keynes would not have approved of it, it is hard to  understand why in the world the Fed is pursuing this policy.  They seem to be creating some kind of new economic theory.


One of the most troubling issues that does not get a lot of coverage is why the Obama White House did not see that problems were coming or why they ignored some of the reports that the web site was not ready.  Presumably these are smart guys, but no one seemed to want to face reality. And no one has resigned!  Either they are just ignorant "yes" people confined by ideological blinders or they wanted it to fail as some conspirators are arguing.

Reflect on that for a moment. The President of the United States is sitting in the Oval Office day after day. The West Wing is stuffed with high power aides. His political appointees sit atop federal bureaucracies, monitoring the work of the career staff around them. The President has told his core team, over and over, that the health care law and the website rollout are his number one domestic priorities.

And with all this, neither he nor, apparently, anyone in his close circle of aides and advisors knew that the website was a disaster. Vapid, blind, idly flapping their lips; they pushed paper, attended meetings and edited memos as the roof came crashing down. It is one thing to fail; it is much, much worse not to see failure coming. There is no way to construe this as anything but a world class flop.

 Another report on White House incompetence from the National Journal.  The technical issues also seem to be marked by "politics."

The same story by Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin revealed that the Health and Human Services Department hired technology contractors without requiring specific performance criteria. It is customary in the private sector to include benchmarks in technology contracts. Not so with the seat-of-their-smarty-pants Obama administration. "The meaning of success was defined for the first time during the panicky days of October, when White House officials belatedly recognized that the federal exchange had serious software and hardware defects," The Post reported.


Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be pursuing a policy in Egypt that is different from what White House advisor Susan Rice wants.  Very interesting.  Kerry may see the issues in Egypt more clearly and have a bigger picture than the White House.  If the White House supports Morsi, it might create problems with the Saudis who are suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Before Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent trip to Cairo, National Security Adviser Susan Rice told him to make strong statements in public and private about the trial of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. On his own, Kerry decided to disregard the White House’s instructions.

The tension between the national security adviser and the secretary of state spilled over into public view in the past week, when Rice laid out her critical appraisal of the Egyptian government, which contradicted Kerry’s assessment that Egypt was “on the path to democracy.” The now public rift has been simmering behind the scenes for months and illustrates the strikingly divergent Egypt policies the White House and the State Department are pursuing.

The turf battles and internal confusion are hampering the administration’s approach to Egypt, say lawmakers, experts, and officials inside both governments.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


A video comparing statements made in the 2012 election.


From Politico.  The cabinet is marginalized and hardly ever consulted by Obama.  It is his White House advisors who run and control the policies and message.

“We are completely marginalized … until the shit hits the fan,” says one former Cabinet deputy secretary, summing up the view of many officials I interviewed. “If your question is: Did the president rely a lot on his Cabinet as a group of advisers? No, he didn’t,” says former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Little wonder, then, that Obama has called the group together only rarely, for what by most accounts are not much more than ritualistic team-building exercises: According to CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, the Cabinet met 19 times in Obama’s first term and four times in the first 10 months of his second term. That’s once every three months or so—about as long as you can drive around before you’re supposed to change your oil.

For any modern president, the advantages of hoarding power in the White House at the expense of the Cabinet are obvious—from more efficient internal communication and better control of external messaging to avoiding messy confirmation battles and protecting against pesky congressional subpoenas. But over the course of his five years in office, Obama has taken this White House tendency to an extreme, according to more than 50 interviews with current and former secretaries, White House staffers and executive branch officials, who described his Cabinet as a restless nest of ambition, fits-and-starts achievement and power-jockeying under a shadow of unfulfilled promise.


Interesting graph from WAPO showing the slide in Obama's popularity as it relates to the various scandals/coverups/etc. that have occurred. Read the analysis.


Observations from Michael Tottenham.

A majority of American voters in both parties have had it. They’re just flat-out not interested in spending any more money or lives to help out. Even many foreign policy professionals are fed up. We get blamed for every one of the Middle East’s problems, including those it inflicts on itself. How gratifying it would be just to walk away, dust off our hands, and say you’re on your own.

But we can't.


Republicans and conservatives are going after these 10 vulnerable Senate Democrats for pledges they made about Obamacare.

Last week, President Obama apologized for misleading the American public with his false claim that "if you like your insurance, you can keep it." Without this assurance, it is unlikely ObamaCare would have passed. Obama was not the only politician fudging the truth. Most Democrat lawmakers repeated this claim on the campaign trail and in meetings with constituents. If Obama apologized, they should as well, as they are equally culpable.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


From the Atlantic Monthly.  "The Republican Party Isn't Really the Anti-Science Party."

. . .in his first inaugural address, Barack Obama vowed to “restore science to its rightful place.”

The president’s insinuation plays into the common perception in the media, electorate, and research community that Republicans are “anti-science.” I encountered that sentiment routinely in nearly a decade working for Republicans on Capitol Hill, and it has become more commonplace in the broader political discussion. Frequent offenders include Slate's Phil Plait, Mother Jones' Chris Mooney, HBO's Bill Maher, a host of contributors at The Huffington Post, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

I'm the first to admit that there are elected Republicans with a terrible understanding of science—Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, an M.D. who claims evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell” is one rather obvious example—and many more with substantial room for improvement. But Republicans, conservatives, and the religious are no more uniquely “anti-science” than any other demographic or political group. It’s just that “anti-science” has been defined using a limited set of issues that make the right wing and religious look relatively worse. (As a politically centrist atheist, this claim is not meant to be self-serving.)

Friday, November 08, 2013


Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama are negotiating a nuclear inspection agreement with Iran, but the Iranian people are seeing pictures like this.

A report on Obama's secret negotiations to bring about detente with Iran.  Will Obama be able to outfox the ayatollahs?

Israel's view. Israel’s most painful lesson from the two-day Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program is that the man who guaranteed to defend Israel’s security, President Barack Obama, is now marching hand in hand with Tehran towards a nuclear-armed Iran.


Some Egyptian lawyers are preparing a case for the International Criminal Court accusing Obama of war crimes as an accessory to Muslim Brotherhood violence. I don't expect this case to go very far, but it is evidence of a lot of anger in Egypt toward Obama.  I wonder what would happen to media coverage if this were Bush being charged?

According to Egyptian newspaper El Watan, a group of Egyptian lawyers has submitted a complaint charging U.S. president Barrack Hussein Obama with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

The complaint charges Obama of being an accessory to the Muslim Brotherhood, which incited widespread violence in Egypt both before and after the June 30 Revolution.


Errors in the liberal media are seldom noted.  I like to read Slate, but as with so much media it has a political slant that interferes with the truth.

What happens when the legal analysts at Slate get things flatly wrong, in the service of generating a desired ideological frisson for their liberal-minded readers? Does anyone act embarrassed or make humble noises about not letting it happen again? These questions arise following a November 1 column in which Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick baldly, flagrantly misstate the holding of a new opinion by Judge Janice Rogers Brown deeming the Obamacare contraceptive mandate in present form to violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). (RFRA, enacted in 1993, requires government to take certain steps to avoid, when it can readily do so, substantially burdening religious observance.)

Saturday, November 02, 2013


President Jimmy Carter is hardly one to criticize another president for ineptness, but he is quite tepid in his response regarding the success of Obama's presidency.

He’s done the best he could under the circumstances. His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.


I am not sure Kathleen Sebelius saw the humor in this (it was given to her by a Republican state senator in Tennessee).

View image on Twitter

From ABC News:  Obama as a TV pitchman.  A liberal media outlet is really ridiculing Obama on how he sells Obamacare.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


This is a bit ironic!  Obama goes to Massachusetts to rally the troops around the success of a state health insurance plan that was implemented by a Republican governor (Mitt Romney).  Maybe Romney should have been elected so that national healthcare would be the same success as what happened in Massachusetts.

President Barack Obama wants Americans to believe this about his health care law: It’s just like Mitt’s.

After all, the White House used the 2006 Massachusetts health program signed into law by Republican Mitt Romney as its blueprint for the national model. And in case anyone missed the message last year during the presidential campaign, Obama will repeat it again Wednesday.

It appears that Washington is incapable of doing what was successfully implemented in Massachusetts. (To be fair the laws are not exactly the same).

Washington bureaucrats seem to be increasing in their incompetence.  The IRS cannot account for 23% of its IT assets. . .and it collects our taxes and plays a roll in implementing Obamacare.


According to Rasmussen 42% identify with Obama and 42% with the Tea Party.  But if you listen to the media you get the impression that the majority of Americans agree with Obama and that the Tea Party is just a small number of yokels. (Tea Party support has dropped 1% since 2010).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The US government (taxpayer) took a $9.7 billion bath on the bailout of General Motors.


Comments on the recent revelations on 60 Minutes.  The White House "spin" is undermined by mainstream media.

Even Chris Matthews from MSNBC is now asking why there was no administration response to the attack on the embassy.

But at least the administration got through the last presidential election without having to face the truth. . .but alas, poor Romney.  The media and liberals castigated him for raising this issue.

UPDATE (11/8/13): CBS reports one of its witnesses used in its report lied. I wonder how much "lying" goes on in all news reporting???